Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Béart, Gérard Depardieu, Wladimir Yordanoff, Judith Magre
Director: Anne Fontaine
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Upon discovering that her husband is cheating on her, Catherine (Fanny Ardnt) hires a prostitute Marlene (Emmanuelle Beart) to play a role as "Nathalie" to seduce him and report back to her. A strange relationship develops... more »
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Excellent Acting and Direction
Dorian M. | Pasadena, CA United States | 01/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Catherine (Fanny Ardant), a successful doctor, seems to be in a happy marriage with her businessman husband, Bernard (Gerard Depardieu), until she learns that Bernard is having an affair. She reacts to this news with some tears but seems otherwise unmoved. That same evening, she randomly strolls into a Gentlemans Club for a drink and happens to meet the beautiful stripper/prostitute, Marlene (Emmanuelle Béart), who seems very curious and interested in Catherine. After some conversation, Catherine decides to hire Marlene (whom she re-names "Nathalie") to seduce her husband and report their sexual activities back to Catherine. The sexual game between Nathalie, Catherine, and Bernard takes strange twists and turns, with each scene exposing more about each character...and how their relationship changes with one another, as well as within their own self. Excellent film, directed by Anne Fontaine, this DVD includes the French version film with English subtitles, a making-of documentary (with no subtitles), a photo gallery, and a trailer that includes one of the smashing songs from the movie. Highly recommended. You can buy this from Amazon.ca, the Canadian site."
Infidelity: three variations on a theme
Phillip Kay | Sydney | 01/21/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Nathalie is a 2003 film by Anne Fontaine (Dry Cleaning, My Father and I), starring Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Béart and Gérard Depardieu. It is a sophisticated attempt to look at the ways people betray each other, based on the murky dynamics of a long term marriage, but I would recommend it only to dedicated fans of the director or stars. Much more successful in my opinion is La Séparation, a 1994 film by Christian Vincent. Not that Nathalie is a bad film exactly, but its flaws get in the way.
For one, the script (rewritten by Fontaine) is propelled by a relentless series of coincidences, the kind of thing that gives melodrama a bad name. It all starts when Catherine (Ardant) the fond wife of Bernard (Depardieu), a highly mobile Parisian businessman, finds his mobile phone which he has left lying around the home (that carelessness must have stuffed up his day). Like any good wife would, she goes through and reads his messages. Instead of boring business stuff, she finds a message from someone he has spent the night with who politely thanks him for the sex. Now if husband and wife had been playing mind games with one another we might guess Bernard has left his phone at home on purpose and that the message might or might not be genuine. But they are shown as a long term couple, with their sex life taking a lag, whom are genuinely fond of one another. So its one of those just happened scenarios: phone just happened to be lying around, wife just happened to read the messages, one just happened to be about the husband's infidelity. Catherine is distraught; she drives home from work, stops to think things over, and just happens to find herself parked outside a bar/brothel with a flashy neon sign, where she sees a prostitute say goodbye to a client. She enters, is approached by a prostitute called Marlène (Béart) whom she hires to seduce her husband, under the name of Nathalie. We might imagine all kinds of reasons why, but the film doesn't tell us.
This series of events I call plot devices, unlikely events which are cursorily said to have taken place so that the situation the author is really interested in can be set up. Some will be able to view so far and say, "Ah, the French, so impulsive...". Me, I'm wondering why nobody has left me a message on my phone thanking me for the sex. And I'm damn sure I'll take it with me, in case they do (more useful if you have the thing with you anyway). And are brothels really so up market as all that in France? I got annoyed at what I saw as careless scriptwriting.
Another bother was the acting. I know that Depardieu, Béart and Ardant are good actors, but here they were monotonous. Ardant, betrayed by her husband as she supposes, never tries to find out why. Instead she spends most of the film with a look of suffering on her face. It's well done; you know what she's feeling. Only, it would be a relief if she would get angry, sarcastic, bitter, depressed, self pitying, try to win Bernard back by looking seductive - after an hour of watching her suffer I found myself getting impatient with her. Depardieu plays a self depreciatory (!) man clumsily fond of his wife and pitifully anxious about her. He spends the film that way, and only the fact that we don't see much of him makes him less monotonous than the other actors. Béart has a role with some development, as the bi-sexual hooker who falls for Catherine, strings her along by talking dirty about what she and Bernard get up to, and gets dumped in the end. She gets to show what's going on between her and Catherine while talking about herself and Bernard, which is interesting.
I found myself unsure what the film was focusing on as I watched. Apparently about the marriage of Catherine and Bernard, but is it really about the relationship between Marlène/Nathalie and Catherine? Or was the director/screenwriter trying to give equal billing to her three major stars? There was some rough editing towards the end of the film, with scenes involving Béart which were not long enough to be establishing, the kind of shots that left me wondering, now what was that supposed to be about? I imagined a film about an unfulfilled housewife who turns to a lesbian love affair which had been sanitised by removing the scenes of two women making love and tacking on a conventional ending. The ending came out of nowhere and seemed to have little to do with the body of the film.
Watch the film if delving into relationship politics is your cup of tea. Maybe you can review it here and resolve some of my doubts."
Fanny Ardant gives Emmanuelle Beart a Mission Impossible to
Paige Rules | Castro Valley, USA | 05/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you were smitten by Emmanuelle Beart in Mission Impossible and want to see her at her sexiest... Nathalie is the movie for you. This is an intelligent erotic french film which features Marlene(Emmanuelle) as the "other" woman hired by Catherine(Fanny Ardant) to seduce her husband Bernard(Gerard Depardieu).
If you are seeing this movie as a Depardieu fan... his role is secondary. This movie is focused on the women characters.
The story is really about the sexual growth of Catherine as she becomes more obsessed with the erotic details of her husband's affair and her own realization about her inner self. What is so great about Fanny Ardant's performance is that by the end of the movie you become just as fascinated with her on both a human and erotic level as you are with Emmanuelle Beart. Ardant evokes a very intelligent sexual powerful character here and thus reminded me alot of another Catherine (Deneuve) at her best.
There is also an interesting twist to discover."
A very mature film!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 06/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This original script begins with desperation: a middle aged woman does not know how to face the progressive decay of her unbearable marriage. They do not even m,ake love in months and their commuciation is a mere formality.
In search of a solution, she bets for an idea very very dangerous. She hires a prostitute to seduce her husband and gets more information about the secret pleasures and sexual tastes of him.
As you know this premise is full of surprises. Fanny Ardant as the cheated woman, Depardieu as the cold husband and the seductive Emannuelle Beart as the lovable and sexy pros, will make a true tour de force with this slow script that tends to fall down in the middle of the road and succesfully emerges with new airs from the second half of the picture.
The final will surprise you and by obvious reasons it's better for all not to give you just any clue. It would not be fair at all.
Go for this challenging, provocative and very smart movie that will make you think over and over.
Another additional triumph of the French creative power."